The Spike In Racial Tensions From 1917 To 1923 History Essay

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From 1917-1923, there was a important spike in racial tensenesss in Florida. The Rosewood Massacre is a paradigm of this spike ; because, before its happening the town was a peaceable topographic point. This paper aims to analyse the social factors that brought about this important spike. The movie, The Birth of a Nation-which depicted the first Ku Klux Klan in a romantic and epic way-largely affected the heads of many United States citizens, even triping the resurgence of the Klan, and was one factor which greatly impacted the spike. The armament and preparation of black soldiers for World War I greatly influenced this spike every bit good since many citizens did non experience comfy with the thought of armed black soldiers. Go arounding rumours of black soldiers holding sexual dealingss with white adult females in Europe besides majorly influenced this spike as white work forces began to believe that black work forces would no longer be satisfied with black adult females. These factors caused a outlook to distribute over the Whites, pressing them to maintain the inkinesss in their topographic point below the Whites.

Summary of Evidence

Before the happening of the Rosewood Massacre- when the largely black town of Rosewood in Levy County was destroyed by rampaging Whites in 1923 ; at least eight people, two white and six black, were killed and the full black population of the town was driven out and ne’er returned.[ 1 ]-Rosewood, Florida was a peaceable topographic point. Rosewood got its name from the ruddy cedar trees that became its head industry. By 1870 the market value of cedar and the commercial production of oranges, every bit good as vegetable agriculture and limited cotton cultivation, justified a railway station and little terminal at Rosewood. Prosperity meant the constitution of a station office and a vote precinct in 1870. Both black and white households moved in, and although the crossroads became a little small town, Rosewood was ne’er incorporated.[ 2 ]A school was opened by Levy County for the white pupils of Rosewood and a private hotel for white invitees was opened every bit good. The Whites besides established a Methodist church in the town, and shortly after the inkinesss had established their ain every bit good.

By 1890, the cedars had died out as a consequence of overharvesting and Rosewood began to worsen.[ 3 ]However, the little township was able to last. By 1900 Rosewood had become a preponderantly black community, with a black population of 342.[ 4 ]However, Rosewood was ne’er an exclusively black colony because some white households continued to love at that place.[ 5 ]Approximately 18 to 25 African American households lived in Rosewood proper, and most of them owned their places and belongings.[ 6 ]The occupants of Rosewood survived on the land. They successfully hunted and farmed. However, some occupants were unable to acquire by on this alone, hence many of the work forces worked in the Cummer Saw Mill while the adult females did domestic work in private places.[ 7 ]There was besides a combination of both black and white owned concerns in Rosewood by 1916. One household owned a general shop for the wihtes and another was owned by inkinesss. There was besides a locally owned sugar factory, which was operated by inkinesss, every bit good as a private black school.[ 8 ]

Before the Rosewood Massacre the occupants of Rosewood lived in comparative safety. While Rosewood was a preponderantly black community there were Whites who lived at that place every bit good and problem between the two groups was scarce. From its constitution up until January 1, 1923, Rosewood was a peaceable topographic point. After the slaughter this tradition of peace did non go on because Rosewood was wholly destroyed by the rabble. A important spike in racial tensenesss occurred in the state at this clip impacting the heads of many Whites. This important spike was caused by social factors which spread throughout the state, but had the greatest impact in the South. These factors, such as the movie The Birth of a State, the armament and preparation of black soldiers, every bit good as rumours of black soldiers holding sexual dealingss with white adult females all contributed to this spike in racial tensenesss which finally led to the Rosewood Massacre and many other Acts of the Apostless of racial force every bit good.

Evaluation of Beginnings

The article “ Rosewood and America in the Early Twentieth Century ” was written by David R. Colburn, a professor of history at the University of Florida, and published in the Florida Historical Quarterly in the autumn of 1997. The intent of this article is to sketch and discourse the social conditions, particularly those covering with race dealingss, in the Unites States in the old ages taking up to the Rosewood Massacre. This beginning is valuable to the probe because it analyzes many social factors that led to the important spike in racial tensenesss from 1917-1923. The beginning is limited because the writer does non use the factors to the race dealingss in the Rosewood country as he claims he will make in the beginning of the article.

The web article “ The Rosewood Massacre Report ” was compiled by a board of research workers from Florida A & A ; M University, Florida State University, and the University of Florida. The intent of the study was to let the Florida Legislature to find if the measure to supply $ 7,000,000 in compensation for the victims of the Rosewood Massacre and their dead persons was an appropriate and necessary step. This is a valuable beginning because it describes in first-class item what went on during the Rosewood Massacre and even nowadayss both sides of inside informations that are still being disputed. The study is besides valuable because it outlines what was traveling on in the state at the clip of the slaughter and brings up factors that could hold led up to it. The beginning is limited nevertheless because it was written for the intent of converting the legislative assembly that the subsisters and descendants should have this adjutant so it focuses a great trade on rumours and guesss from inkinesss that portray even greater enduring than the narratives typically reported in the white newspapers at the clip of the slaughter.


The Birth of a Nation ran for 47 hebdomads in New York entirely – despite protests of both inkinesss and Whites – and portrayed the Klan in heroic and romantic footings, peculiarly in its decision when the Klan rode in to salvage southern civilisation from the fearful black reserves.[ 9 ]This thought influenced the heads of many white Americans who already had frights and concerns about the inkinesss. In every country that the movie ran, race dealingss fell apart. This movie significantly impacted the spike because it depicted the racism of the Ku Klux Klan heroically, doing racism seem a logical, justified solution to the turning frights and concerns that many white citizens had with inkinesss.

The armament and preparation of black soldiers for Word War I was one of these concerns. The thought of inkinesss armed with arms increased frights among Whites about the potency for armed rebellion. German propaganda added well to white anguish by promoting African Americans to put down their weaponries or turn them against their existent enemies-southern Whites.[ 10 ]This added to the turning fright of the Whites that armed inkinesss would arise ; particularly once changes between inkinesss and Whites began happening all across the state.[ 11 ]One such incident occurred in August 1917, the worst frights of Whites materialized when armed black soldiers killed 17 white occupants of Houston, Texas, following a drawn-out period of torment of black military personnels.[ 12 ]In the old ages following World War I, whites throughout the state feared that black work forces in uniform, who had fought for freedom in Europe, might get down to anticipate it at place.[ 13 ]This contributed significantly to the spike because it created a fright within the Whites. White persons began to experience threatened by the inkinesss and hence began to develop a outlook that they must make whatever they can to continue their place at the top of the societal hierarchy.

To do affairs worse, rumours of black soldiers holding sexual dealingss with white adult females in Europe began go arounding every bit good. Back place, white activists warned that black veterans would no longer be content with black adult females when they returned from Europe.[ 14 ]These rumours greatly contributed to the spike because with these rumours the Whites ‘ frights had been realized, particularly in the South. Southern civilization had been constructed around a set of mores and values which placed white adult females at its centre and in which the pureness of their behavior and their manners represented the polish of that civilization.[ 15 ]These rumours represented a major tabu in southern society and besides threatened to rupture apart the hierarchy of this society. The white work forces of southern society believed it was their duty to continue and protect the award and virtuousness of Southern adult females from the inferior black work forces. These rumours greatly impacted the spike because they helped to distribute the turning thrust to maintain inkinesss in their topographic point below the Whites.


The spike in racial tensenesss that occurred from 1917 to 1923 was brought approximately by social factors. The movie, The Birth of a Nation, was one such factor because it depicted the first Ku Klux Klan in heroic ways, portraying racism as a logical solution for the concerns that many Whites had with the inkinesss. The armament and preparation of black soldiers was one of these concerns as it added to the Whites ‘ frights of an armed rebellion by the inkinesss. The circulation of rumours sing black soldiers and white adult females in Europe besides furthered these concerns because it spread a outlook over southern work forces that they must protect the virtuousness of their adult females and maintain the inkinesss in their topographic point. These social factors effected citizens all over the state and greatly influenced the spike in racial tensenesss which led up to the Rosewood Massacre.

The grounds examined lent itself good to probe, nevertheless it was hard to happen because there is non a great trade of literature written about the spike in racial tensenesss that led up to the Rosewood Massacre. Other probes into this subject could concentrate on the influences of the great migration on the spike in racial tensenesss from 1917 to 1923, every bit good as the factors that caused racial tensenesss to worsen after 1923.

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